This year has seen an usually large number of mergers and acquisitions. That’s good news generally, but it’s especially good news for a handful of Am Law 100 firms. A recent report by financial software company Dealogic reveals that the top five law firms in M&A, ranked by deal dollar values, owned more than 75% of the market in the first half of 2014. In first place is powerhouse Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which currently has the highest market share of any firm in the last decade.
Judges “have the most extraordinary gift for secretiveness” – and Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner argues that that’s a bad thing in a recent interview with lawyer and author Joel Cohen. Posner certainly does his part to promote judicial transparency through his writing, but one might guess that his extensive publishing record as an academic, author and blogger would make the opinionated jurist the frequent target of recusal motions. Not so, he says. In the estimated 6,000 argued cases he has heard in his 32 years on the bench, he claims there have only there have only been two motions to recuse him. Neither, he says, referred to his extracurricular activities as a reason for his requested removal
Sports attorney David Cornwell wants Alex Rodriguez to show him the money. A lawsuit filed by Cornwell and his firm, Gordon & Rees, claims the baseball superstar owes the firm more than $380,000 in legal fees for work it did last year on Rodriguez’s unsuccessful bid to overturn his steroid suspension. The complaint alleges that A-Rod had been advised not to pay his invoices by Desiree Perez, an adviser at Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Perez allegedly told Rodriguez to let Gordon & Rees sue him for the fees. Challenge accepted.
Citigroup Inc. has settled with the federal government for $7 billion over claims about the financial giant’s misrepresentations of the value of residential mortgage-backed securities. The bank will pay $2.5 billion in “consumer relief.” At a press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder commented that this payment is a crucial part of holding the bank accountable for its role in the mortgage crisis. Citigroup must also pay a $4 billion civil penalty, which the Justice Department touts as the largest ever under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act.
PS: Other big banks, beware. Holder said that Citi “is not the first financial institution to be held accountable by this Justice Department, and it will certainly not be the last.”
Enough with the endless media analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 term—what do people think about the justices themselves? A Gallup poll asking the question “Do you approve of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job?” found 47% of respondents approving and 46% disapproving. That’s no big shift from a poll taken in September, before the start of the term (in which 46% approved and 45% disapproved), but what did change were the results according to respondents’ political affiliations. Republican approval jumped from 30% in September to 51% in July, while Democrats’ approval fell from 58% to 44%.
In a term notable for its unusually large number of unanimous decisions, it may only have taken a few high-profile 5-4 rulings to cause this flip in political party support, the Gallup report suggests. And which case takes the most credit for the increase in Republican cheers and Democrat jeers? Hint: It rhymes with “Snobby Bobby.”